Power Rankings: 2016 Sony Open

By Will GrayJanuary 11, 2016, 8:41 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season is off and running, as the PGA Tour heads to Oahu this week for the Sony Open in Hawaii. A field of 130 players will tackle the Waialae Country Club, where the key will be navigating tight fairways and small targets.

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Jimmy Walker won this event by nine shots a year ago to successfully defend his title. Here are 10 players to watch in Honolulu:

1. Matt Kuchar: While this tournament has been dominated by Walker in the last two years, Kuchar has been equally solid with four straight finishes of T-8 or better. Eight of his last 16 rounds at Waialae have gone for 66 or better, and his close to last season included top-10 finishes in two of his final three playoff events.

2. Jimmy Walker: Walker emphatically defended his title last year, winning by nine shots. While his production tapered off somewhat in the latter half of last season, Walker finished T-10 last week in Maui and is 40 under par at this event over the last two years.

3. Harris English: English has gotten progressively better each of the last three years here, going from T-9 in 2013 to fourth in 2014 and T-3 last year. He already has two top-25 finishes in four starts this season and is riding a streak of 12 straight sub-par efforts at Waialae.

4. Charles Howell III: Any list of "horses for courses" at Waialae must include Howell, who has recorded eight top-10 finishes since 2002. But his play outside of Oahu is also reason for optimism, as the veteran closed out the fall portion of this season with a five-event stretch that included four finishes of T-17 or better.

5. Zach Johnson: Johnson won here in 2009, but he has recorded only one top-10 result since and finished a disappointing T-63 a year ago. While his short game and wedge play make him an ideal fit for the cozy confines of Waialae, his T-21 finish last week in Maui showed that he may still be adjusting to new equipment.

6. Marc Leishman: The Aussie has been a regular contender at this event, with five straight finishes of T-27 or better from 2009-2014. That stretch included top-10 finishes in 2013 and 2014, and even last year's T-37 result included a second-round 62.

7. Kevin Kisner: Kisner hasn't played a final round in four prior Sony starts, but he enters as the FedEx Cup leader and brimming with confidence. He wasn't able to sustain the momentum of his hot start in Maui, but a ninth-place result was still his third straight top-10 of the wraparound season.

8. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker hasn't played this event since a T-69 finish in 2008, but he showed plenty of form last week en route to a T-3 finish at Kapalua. Snedeker has been known for hot stretches of streaky play in the past, and if his putter is working like it was in Maui, he'll likely contend again.

9. Adam Scott: Scott's track record here includes four top-20 finishes - highlighted by a runner-up in 2009 - scattered around a pair of missed cuts. With the anchoring ban now in effect, the question for Scott both this week and moving forward will be his level of success (and comfort) on the greens with a short putter.

10. Justin Thomas: Thomas held a share of the 36-hole lead here a year ago after a second-round 61. He ended up T-6, one of seven top-10 finishes last season, and after a slow start in Maui he managed to record consecutive rounds of 4-under 69 over the weekend.

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.